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in my assessment of whether our ex nanny is being reasonable in her expectations in life?

68 replies

confuseduntildinnertime · 05/07/2017 18:11

We live in central London. She was with us for 18 months. Her English was okay, but her accent was very thick. She was a 40 year old Ghanian woman and she also spoke french. Thick accent in French too, apparently. But regardless I think she's amazing for speaking more than one language as I can't. (accent thing is relevant btw, not just me being a cow..)

She told us after a while that she wanted to work as a PA and not with children anymore. As we considered her part of our family we gave her time off to search for a job, and we even introduced her to a few other people who might have a PA job to offer (actual companies.) We continued paying her full-time salary throughout this, even though she was only working three days a week while she looked for another job.

Everybody (who we introduced her to) said that neither her English nor her french was clear enough to take on such a communicative role in an English-language or French-language speaking company. They all also said she had no previous experience as a PA, and should gain some experience before applying again. All these companies were in central london.

We suggested to her that she becomes our nanny and our PA combined , gets some experience and moves on later. She said she didn't want to do that, she wanted to work in the office of a central London company, she wouldn't accept to move somewhere else in England. She said that she would resign and job-hunt without having to look after the DC during office hours.

We said, okay, bought her a present and wished her well. We kept in touch and saw her a few times socially where she said hi to the DC. She emailed us a lot after she left asking if we could introduce her to more companies to be their PA, but we had exhausted the people we knew so couldn't help her. She didn't seem to understand why we couldn't be the answer to her problems.

It's been a year now, and she has done lots of work experience in offices, but she doesn't have a job. And she hasn't had a salary since we last paid her, apart from some babysitting and overnighting she is doing in people's homes as a childcarer on - and she is on benefits.

We have since found a new nanny and are very happy with her. But ex-Nanny has now come back saying she feels really desperate and really needs our help and her job back in order to pay her rent, but still maintains she wants to work as a PA eventually.

I feel quite torn because I am all for people holding on to their dreams and working towards them. She and I are the same age, so there is a lot of me imagining myself in her situation and knowing that if I tried to get a job as PA in central London now (I currently work for myself) after having 3DC, then I'd probably be having trouble too.

But I'm also aware of my own privilege. Being married and having two salaries, being white, being in the country I was lucky enough to be born in and only having to speak my mother tongue. So there is a side of me which is tempted to send her some money, or offer her some work as a PA to DH and I (we both work from home) to help get her to where she needs to be.

The other side of me feels that she has acted quite entitled and that her expectations are out of whack with reality?

OP posts:
provider5sectorzz9 · 05/07/2017 19:41

She seems to feel that you have an on going obligation towards her

Morecoffeeurgently · 05/07/2017 19:57

Totally agree with the consensus. She is being unrealistic. You have helped as much as you can but you can't do the impossible - ie find her a job she isn't experienced in/has the skillset to do.

It's like me saying I want to be an engineer. Only I'm hopeless at maths and design. As much as I want it, it's not going to happen. She doesn't have the language skills by the sound of it. As other posters have said they have degrees in English etc, relevant experience and STILL can't get a PA job in London. Ambition is great but she needs one based on her actual skills, training, qualifications and experience not her ideal one.

Rubies12345 · 05/07/2017 20:06

And this is on top of the burden of being non-white

I don't know why people think companies won't hire a black person. I work for a financial institution with offices in London. There are lots of black people in the Scottish and London offices. Some of the PAs are black they're not 40 though and I think looks plays a part

lalalalyra · 05/07/2017 20:09

So not only is she unrealistic, but she thinks you owe her so much that you should fire your current nanny and saddle your children with a nanny who doesn't want to be a nanny and who will leave when she gets the chance to be a PA (or presumably get more bitter at not achieving her dreams?)?

We'd all love our dream jobs, but she needs to be realistic. No chance would I be taking her back, or helping her by employing her in a role I didn't need her in.

clumsymcfallsalot · 05/07/2017 20:11

You've given me above and beyond. You gave her paid time off to job hunt, set her up with opportunities to work in the area she wanted and offered her a combined role so she could get some experience. At every step she has to.d you it's not good enough. It's far more than 99.9% of people would have done. Her future isn't your problem. Offer her a nannying reference and wish her well. You owe her nothing.

WaitingfortheMiracle · 05/07/2017 20:11

Agree with previous posters in that your children need the stability & security of their new nanny (who won't desert them if a better offer comes along). Their needs come first.

Old nanny is being unrealistic and is in a mess of her own making. YOU are not the answer to her problem, and have already put yourself out to a large extent. She does not have the skillsets required, and the sooner she realises this, the sooner she can adjust her expectations and consider more viable employment.

WyfOfBathe · 05/07/2017 20:14

I think your awareness of privilege is stopping you seeing that she's (apparently) not qualified to be a PA in a top London firm. If she had experience, spoke fluent English, had a good CV and attitude and wasn't getting work, it wouldn't be unreasonable to think that racism might be a cause of her lack of job offers. When, as far as I can tell, she has no experience and can't communicate in European French or English well enough to do the job, that's different.

I moved to France as a teenager, and speak French fluently. I was turned down for a job as a call handler due to my British accent and lack of knowledge of French etiquette. I was in my twenties, so able to "bounce back" and get a different job quite easily, but I do know where she's coming from.

NoSquirrels · 05/07/2017 20:17

You're not thinking of dropping current nanny, are you? The way I read it was you could offer former Ghanaian nanny some temp work as a PA so she could get a reference/experience for that role - but that your childcare situation as is would remain intact.

You absolutely can't drop your new nanny.

If you have work that former nanny could reasonably do for you (without inventing stuff) and it would be mutually beneficial then sure, be charitable. But her attitude is pretty sucky, in all honesty, and you don't want to be taken for a mug. She may well regret not taking you up on your generous offer last year, but everyone makes mistakes and it is how you live with them and learn from them that counts.

WillRikersExtraNipple · 05/07/2017 20:18

But I'm also aware of my own privilege. Being married and having two salaries, being white, being in the country I was lucky enough to be born in and only having to speak my mother tongue. So there is a side of me which is tempted to send her some money, or offer her some work as a PA to DH and I (we both work from home) to help get her to where she needs to be

That's kind of patronising. "I'm whiter and richer and married so I'm going to give you work you aren't qualified for as I feel sorry for you".
You seem weirdly over invested, as if she is your pet project.

NoSquirrels · 05/07/2017 20:24

Perhaps the best thing you could do for her is to sell her the idea of careers advice in some form - it's a very specific ambition (PA to a Central London firm) but the role itself is actually made up of lots of different skills and it could be that some part of that job satisfaction can be found elsewhere.

If she's reasonably confident, competent, and has some relevant transferable qualifications, then a temp agency should have been able to find her something so that she can start to build her career. But if she's just of the mindset that if she applies enough times someone will take her on (leaving your very flexible employment to "job hunt" 5 days a week full time rings alarm bells to me) without her working her way up, then she needs to change her attitude.

wildbhoysmama · 05/07/2017 20:24

What a nasty comment, WillRikers, uncalled for, as pps have said the op sounds thoroughly decent and she has stated that she saw her as part of the family. Who rattled your chain?

WillRikersExtraNipple · 05/07/2017 20:25

I don't think it's nasty at all, but thanks for telling me we were only allowed to make comments that were agreeing with the OP and being lovely to them.
I hadn't realised aibu was like that.

wildbhoysmama · 05/07/2017 20:39

You can, of course, say what you like, WillRikers, i don't wish to tell you what to do. I merely gave my opinion that I think your assessment is off: There's a difference between being thoughtful and having a 'pet project'-I don't think the op comes across as if being all about her ag all.
I can get shirty with the rest, but I just don't think it's justified here, that's all.

user1497480444 · 05/07/2017 20:40

WillRikersExtraNipple has said exactly what I was thinking

KC225 · 05/07/2017 20:49

I earned my living as a PA in the London Property field prior to having children. A good PA is expensive so employers can demand a lot for their bucks in terms of experience, qualifications and CV boosters like languages, budgeting/computer skills and staff management etc. Has she considered lowing her sights a little for a more entry level position. Some sort of clerical/admin role may broaden her office experience and her language skills? Or has she considered contacting Ghanian companies directly where her knowledge could be an asset.

I agree you have tried to help her and she made her choice. At 40 she is not an 18 year girl chasing butterflies. You can be empathetic but I fail to see how you can help.

Wawawaa · 06/07/2017 10:43

I second SomeOtherFuckers. I'm fully English (so no accent etc) but have worked around the world in a profession usually thought of as more demanding than a PA but with transferable skills (think media-ish). So I have short hand, fast typing skills, highly organised, able to communicate with people (I'm actually a bit shy but that doesn't come across in interviews) and am also well presented, friendly, hard working.

I moved to London a few years ago looking for a career change at around 30 and could I get a PA role? No! I tried for over a year and just wasn't even getting interviews. In the end I worked as a receptionist for a few years.

Sometimes life isn't fair but you have to suck it up! Nothing to do with nationality necessarily, although I'm sure a strong accent and no relevant experience isn't going to help.

Loopytiles · 06/07/2017 10:48

I think you went way too far while employing her, "one of the family", paying her to look for another job!!!

TheViceOfReason · 06/07/2017 10:51

You've gone over and above with the support, she made her decisions and unfortunately it's not worked out. You can't bail her out indefinitely!

She will need to readjust her expectations and take whatever work she can find.

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